Record in National Archives of Cuba of James D'Wolf's slave ship Jane, captained by William MunroAs I returned to the U.S. from Havana last night, the Associated Press released a story on our visit, “US family finds traces of slave-trade past in Cuba.”

The article has been running prominently in the U.S. and abroad, making the A.P.’s daily top stories list as their third-listed international story in the world.

I spent ten days in Cuba with Katrina Browne and Tulaine Marshall, and the article focuses on our visit Sunday to the site of the Mount Hope coffee plantation owned by my fifth-great grandfather, James D’Wolf.

The article, written by the A.P.’s Will Weissert, is quite impressive, and I’m particularly pleased with the way it ends:

While both she and Perry have worked to uncover their family’s role, they say no Americans – even those whose descendants came to the U.S. after slavery was abolished – should feel unaffected. The early U.S. economy so relied on slavery that it fueled a boom, making America an attractive destination for immigrants ….

“None of us,” Perry said, “are untouched by the legacy of slavery today.”

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Marcus Rediker has written a fascinating new history of the transatlantic slave trade, The Slave Ship: A Human History. His approach is to focus on the slave ship as a social institution and a window into the slave trade itself.

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As some of you know, there is a documentary film coming out about several of my ancestors and their role in the slave trade.

Traces of the Trade tells the story of the D’Wolf family of Bristol, R.I. and follows ten of our family today, as we retrace the route of the triangle trade and discuss the implications of this family legacy for U.S. race relations today.

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